It was a mixed week for the Public Action Report last week. We had three covers in six games, including nice outright underdog winners in Navy (+8) and the Dolphins (+3). Two of the losses, though — Eastern Michigan vs. Kent State and the Jaguars vs. the Bears — were just massacres. The third — Illinois +13.5 at Wisconsin — only fell short thanks to a meaningless late touchdown by the Badgers. The 3-3 ATS record brings us to a still-profitable 16-13 ATS on the season.
We went over the criteria extensively last week, so we won’t do that again here. What I will mention, though, is that I am almost always strict to the criteria, but there is one case when I will make an exception and ignore a game in which the numbers make sense. Oregon State is a perfect illustration of this in their game at BYU this week. Nearly three-quarters of bets have come in on them, yet the line opened at the key number of +3 for the Beavers and has climbed to +6. Normally that would be a very enthusiastic endorsement of Oregon State. On Wednesday, though, we learned that Oregon State will be without Sean Mannion, their QB who has been the driving force of the team this year. His absence due to injury largely explains the line movement, and because we can easily and obviously explain why it has happened, that game won’t be included in the report this week. Any time extenuating circumstances are clearly at the root of the movement we’ll pass on the game. Lucky for us it doesn’t happen that often.
This week we have a relatively light schedule with just two games in college football, and two more in the NFL:
Purdue (-2) vs. Wisconsin (Saturday, Oct. 13, noon ET)
Nearly three-quarters of bets in this one have been on the Badgers, yet the line opened at pick and has moved to +2 for the Badgers. That’s a pretty clear sign that the Boilermakers are worth a look. Purdue has to bounce back from a really ugly loss to Michigan last week, but a struggling Wisconsin team — one that has been giving up a lot of points — could be a good one to bounce back against. Wisconsin has lost both road games they have played this year, so the location certainly helps Purdue.
Tulane (+17.5) vs. SMU (Saturday, Oct. 13, 1 p.m. ET)
This one is a little different, but no less interesting. It was initially posted at 19 points, but it was hit hard and fast and dropped to 15. It has since been slowly climbing back, but given that nearly 80 percent of bets have been on SMU it’s not bouncing back nearly as fast as you might expect. That’s a clear sign that Tulane is worth a look here. The Green Wave are not only winless in five games this year, but they also lost their last 10 last season. While they have hit the bottom of the barrel, this isn’t about them — it’s all about SMU. Their offense is weak, and that’s being kind. In order to cover a 17.5-point spread you need to score at least 18 points. That’s a tall task for the Mustangs — even against a team like this.
Cleveland (+1.5) vs. Cincinnati (Sunday, October 14, 1 p.m. ET)
This game opened with the Bengals favored by the key number of three, but it has since fallen to as low as one point. Given that three-quarters of bets have been on the Bengals that movement — which is particularly significant given that it involves a move off of three — means that the Browns are worth a look in this battle of Ohio. Cincinnati’s 3-2 record is inflated by a weak schedule, and their vulnerabilities were exposed by the Dolphins last week. Cleveland, meanwhile, has been better than their 0-5 record suggests. Their offensive line is the better one here, and that could be the difference.
Seattle (+3) vs. New England (Sunday, Oct. 14, 4 p.m. ET)
Not surprisingly, the vast majority of bets here have been on the very public Patriots. Despite that, the line has dropped from as high as 4.5 to the key number of three. That means we should be looking closely at the Seahawks. New England clearly isn’t as sharp as they have been in past years, and Seattle’s defense has been tested and proven repeatedly this year. This one could easily be closer than the public expects.
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